7 celebrities you didn’t know went to the University of Leeds

You may not know it but the halls of the Parkinson building have been the home to many a famous face.

But did you know these celebrities went to the University of Leeds?

Chris Pine

Chris Pine

What did he study? English literature

What year did he graduate? 2001

Chris Pine spent a year at Leeds from 2000-2001 as part of his English degree at University of California, Berkeley. Since his time living in Hyde Park, he has starred in the reboot of the Star Trek franchise as Captain Kirk, and more recently as Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman. He speaks fondly of his time at Leeds, regarding it as ‘one of the best years of his life’ in an interview.

Dan Smith

bastille b

What did he study? English language and literature

What year did he graduate? 2007

Before becoming frontman of indie band Bastille, Dan Smith was involved with The Gryphon and Leeds Student Radio during his time at Leeds. Since graduating, Dan has become the lead vocalist and songwriter for the band, selling over 7.5 million records with Bastille in the US and UK alone. In an interview with Unifresher, Smith told us if it weren’t for the University of Leeds, Bastille wouldn’t exist.




What did they study? Unknown

What year did they graduate? 2006

Cameron Edwards and Joe Lenzie are the duo that make up DJ group Sigma. They originally formed in Leeds, meeting at drum and bass nights in the city. The duo regularly collaborate with popular artists and have secured two number ones with ‘Nobody to Love’ and ‘Changing’. While at Leeds, Northern Lights and Mint Club were among the pair’s favourite hangouts.

Alistair and Jonny Brownlee

brownlee brothers

What did they study? Sports science and physiology, history

What year did they graduate? 2009, 2012

The Brownlee brothers are two of Britain’s most successful triathletes. The pair both hold national and international titles for the triathlon, as well as earning the gold and silver medals between them at the Rio Olympics in 2016. The UK’s first purpose-built triathlon training centre was built this year, named The Brownlee Centre, in celebration of the athletes’ success following their time at Leeds.

Jamie Laing

jamie laing

What did he study? Theatre and performance

What year did he graduate? 2011

Before starring in E4’s ‘Made in Chelsea’, TV personality Jamie Laing was a student at Leeds, alongside fellow ‘Made in Chelsea’ stars Caggie Dunlop and Stevie Johnson. The heir to the McVitie’s fortune has been back to visit since his graduation, popping up in Central Village on a night out in 2013.

Corinne Bailey-Rae


What did she study? English literature

What year did she graduate? 2000

Singer-songwriter Corinne Bailey-Rae studied at the university before launching her solo music career. In 2011, she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the university. Born and bred in Leeds, while at the university Corinne spent time working at LS6, known then as just the Clock Cafe. After graduation, Corinne had hits with ‘Like a Star’ and ‘Put Your Records On’, among others, landing her multiple Grammy nominations and wins. Her most recent work is featured on the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack.

Alice Levine


What did she study? English language

What year did she graduate? 2008

If you don’t recognise her face you’re sure to recognise her voice, as former Leeds student Alice Levine is a regular DJ on BBC Radio 1. Alice has also presented ‘Big Brother’s Bit on the Side’, among other presenting roles. In 2015 she began presenting popular podcast ‘My Dad Wrote a Porno’, which she also co-writes, with collaborators she met as part of Leeds Student TV.

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